NBA Schedule 2011-12: 5 Teams with the Toughest Schedules This Season

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NBA Schedule 2011-12: 5 Teams with the Toughest Schedules This Season
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat headline a series of games on Christmas Day that couldn't get any better to start the NBA season. 

Looking at the various schedules, though, there are some teams that have tougher schedules than others. 

In the NBA scheduling is a little more complicated than just how good your opponents are. The reason for that is that everyone plays everyone. In fact, last year the "easiest" schedule belonged to the Bulls, while the Timberwolves had the toughest. Once you account for the fact that the Wolves "had to" play the Bulls while the Bulls "got to" play the Wolves twice, the Wolves' opponents averaged .36 wins more than the Bulls. 

It's a difference, but it's hardly dramatic. 

Other factors play into the scheduling as well. When do you play your hardest games? There's a strong correlation between winning and losing and the back end of back-to-back games and how rested your opponent is.

Even if you are playing an inferior team, if it's the back end of a back-to-back at the end of a long road trip while your opponent is playing on three days' rest at home, it's a tough schedule.  

This year's scheduling has all kinds of quirks that need to be accounted for. Who you are playing, when you are playing them and where you are playing them all need to be accounted for. 

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